Former Wellington mayor Tom Knowles was honoured by the crowd which packed St Patrick’s Catholic Church on Friday.
People were forced to stand outside while acknowledging his great life.
Rays of sunshine spread through the church as his daughters told of a laconic and always interesting life.
Daughter Justine said her father was a farmer with passion, a passion for sheep, hereford cattle and even the kids’ horses.
Born in November of 1944 to Betty and Vincent Knowles, Mr Knowles went to school at Bodangora, starting in first grade to ensure the school had enough numbers.
He then went to St Mary’s where his daughter reported he was well behaved, except for putting his initials in a newly-laid path.
This became a family tradition his daughter Mary told the crowd, bringing a few smiles and laughs.
Mr Knowles leaves behind his wife Susie, who local parish priest Father Hennessy described as the energy behind Tom Knowle’s dedication to the community.
His daughter described the bond between husband and wife as a strong, stable, loving relationship which she and her siblings wanted to emulate.
Mr Knowles joined Wellington Council in 1995, his mission to change the local scene and in 2001 he became mayor.
Former Council general manager Donald Ramsland said it was a time of tremendous development.
“From new shops to new ambulance and police station and the Wellington Correctional Centre.
“Mr Knowles also served as mayor at the same time as his daughter Kathryn became mayor of Bathurst.
“It’s understood this was historic in local government in NSW.”
Mr Ramsland told of Mr Knowles’ concern for the community and how he would call from his tractor in the morning at 7.45am.
“G’day, how you going? I’ve been thinking ... ,” Mr Ramsland said adding some of the new ideas would change his day, many times for the better.
He described his ability to communicate with anyone from federal politicians to state, and the blokes in Taylor’s woolshed. His dislike of weeds which led him to become a champion for their control and how he made decisions which gave preference to projects which were not in his neighbourhood.
“Tom Knowles was a man of principles,” Mr Ramsland said. “From his work in the formation of the nationally awarded Wellington, Cabonne, Blayney Alliance to things like clay pigeon shooting, Tom Knowles touched lives in many special ways.”
The big crowd showed respect for a public figure who had loved Wellington, his family and his farming life while a lone piper sounded an eerie farewell as his coffin, draped in a golden fleece, left the church.